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I will freely and unabashedly admit that I am a “movie Nazi”. By that I mean that I belong to these people who think that going to the cinema and watching a movie on the big screen is an individual experience (contrary to theater), that you should be fully immersed in the film and have no distractions whatsoever, and that there is, in the words of Shepherd Bock, “a very special Hell, reserved for child molesters and people who talk in the cinema”.

I may be grumpy and irritable, but I’m also mostly reasonable, and enough of a coward that I don’t act upon all my little flashes of annoyance. But among the things that are most likely to trigger utterly irrational acts of verbal – and possibly even physical – violence in my chicken-shit brain, someone making unnecessary noise in a cinema comes first. I hate the sound of popcorn being masticated or whirled around in the bucket, the slurp of coke going up the straw is like fingernails on a black board, and the Gods help someone who answers a mobile phone anywhere near me… There’s a certain amount of leeway – I’m not actually psychotic, a couple of words won’t turn me into Freddy Krueger - but that’s one area where I’m not entirely reasonable.

Anyway. That being said, let’s go back to Sunday, 12.30, when I go into the room where they play Wall-E, here in Athlone IMC “Incredibly Meh Cinema”. It’s a small room, and there are maybe… 25 people in there, mostly children, a good few around 2 or 3 years old.

Now, I’m usually not a fan of children in cinemas, but first of all I’ve made a lot of progress in child tolerance these past few years, thanks primarily to a certain half-Californian munchkin of my acquaintance and her uber-cuteness (I’d cite my nephew but it’s not like I’ve been around him much to be honest…), and secondly I went to the showing fully expecting that situation. Besides, children speaking in cinemas is different. Kids are kids, you can’t expect control or manners from a two year old. That’d be stupid.  

And it wasn’t actually that bad for most of the movie – occasional exclamations, a few words, a bit of crying, really nothing to set me off. As I said, I’m not psychotic. Towards the end though, the youngest members of the audience started losing the plot a bit, fidgeting, and eventually went into full “I don’t care” mode and started shouting and running around and pursuing each other.

Briefly (I thought) annoying in a general way, but not unexpected either. What was, though, was the response from the parents.

Nothing.

For 20 mn or more, the parents of the 2, then 3, then all the way up to 6 children let them run up and down the central aisle and scream and play tag without uttering a single sound of disapproval or attempting any control or, and I know I’m being totally unreasonable here expecting something that novel and strange, taking the children with them and leaving the theater.

I know! How crazy, eh? I mean, who would do that? Who would possibly accept full responsibility for their children’s behaviour, no matter how natural it is, bite the bullet, and actually leave the other patrons to enjoy what they paid to see? I mean, it’s not like parents know that they should expect children that young to not stay put for the whole feature. They couldn’t possibly have thought ahead. And of course they want to see the movie too, you know. They paid for it after all.

Sheesh.

Funny think was, just the day before a previously mentionned munchkin was taken to the cinema for the first time by her parents. And would you believe that when she inevitably began to make noise, one of them left with her, and had to pay for another ticket to see the whole movie on the next showing?

How ridiculously responsible of them. Is that truly the way we want our children to be raised, mmh?

 

At any rate, that explains why my attention was somewhat diverted during the final sequence of the movie, and why I do not want to give an opinion on it as it could be entirely skewed any which way. It’s hard to judge the narrative timing of a movie when you’re concentrating hard on not putting babies on spikes…

 

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